Friday, August 03, 2007

Advice to Brian May when he defends his PhD thesis

Advice to Brian May, founder of "Queen", when he faces his astrophysics PhD viva voca (oral examination)

1. Mug up on your external examiner's published work. Try to preface every answer with "Well, as you yourself showed in 1992 ... ?

2. If faced with a difficult question, give a nervous self -deprecating smile, look briefly at your feet, act as if you have been caught on the hop and are forced to improvise. Then launch into your well-prepared answer.

3. If told you have not sufficiently replicated your findings to permit any degree of statistical confidence, reply :
(a) that you did, of course, carry out the whole range of significance tests on the University's mainframe computer : Student's t, non-parametric U tests etc that, needless to say, bore out your hypothesis ...
(b) that you omitted them out of consideration for the examiners, to avoid the thesis becoming excessively bulky
(c) you had been influenced in your youth by the advice of Professor Hans Beerbohm of Stuttgart University: try at all costs to keep your thesis slim and excellent.
If asked asked who Hans Beerbohm was - obfuscate.

(d) Give the external examiners your autograph when requested.

Write " An appreciative Dr. Brian May " on photographs of yourself, floodlit on the roof of Buckingham Palace which you just happened to be keeping in your wallet...
Just jokin' Brian. Keep your cool, wow them, best of luck !

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